Dark Canyon Wilderness

Steep erodes clifsThe only designated Wilderness in southeastern Utah, the greater area of the Dark Canyon complex is rich in biological, geological, archaeological, and historical significance, and is also one of the most colorful canyon systems on the Colorado Plateau. Dark Canyon begins on Elk Ridge at an elevation of 8,800 feet then cuts through Cedar Mesa sandstone formations dramatically framed amidst a forest of ponderosa pine on its 5,000-foot descent to the Colorado River. Steep, sculpted and terraced sandstone walls shade the canyon in morning and late afternoon -- hence the name. Dark Canyon was the ancestral home of Puebloan peoples for 5,000 years. Ancestral Puebloan structures and rock art are tucked among the cliffs. (Please leave these treasures undisturbed for others to experience.) WARNING: Water is scarce -- check with Forest Service offices for current availability. Forest Service video by Charity Parks.